Songs for the Road: The Psalms of Ascent: Day 12

Patience and Perseverance

by

Today's Text: Psalm 129:1-8

Scripture Reading: Psalm 129

The Christian life is a climb—a journey of constant growth, sacrifice, and trusting God for what we cannot see. As Eugene Peterson said, we are pilgrims, but we are also disciples—always moving and always learning. The Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) were sung by worshipers as they made the journey up to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. In this 3-week reading plan, we are digging into these traveling songs with the help of short summary essays and thoughtful, reflective questions for each psalm. Take your pack on your shoulder and walk with us as we pursue God together.

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Psalm 129 (CSB)
PROTECTION OF THE OPPRESSED
A song of ascents.

1 Since my youth they have often attacked me —
let Israel say —
2 Since my youth they have often attacked me,
but they have not prevailed against me.
3 Plowmen plowed over my back;
they made their furrows long.
4 The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the ropes of the wicked.

5 Let all who hate Zion
be driven back in disgrace.
6 Let them be like grass on the rooftops,
which withers before it grows up
7 and can’t even fill the hands of the reaper
or the arms of the one who binds sheaves.
8 Then none who pass by will say,
“May the LORD’s blessing be on you.
We bless you in the name of the LORD.”

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A Song of War
The pilgrim-disciple asks the Lord to bring a reckoning to evil and evildoers, to smite the wicked “far as the curse is found.”

It is appropriate to desire a reckoning for evil. We should want evil eradicated from the world and we should ask God to do it—not simply because we loathe how bad it can be, but because there is something even higher we want: peace. Jesus broke the curse by taking our sin upon Himself, giving us that peace.

Reflect
1. What questions come to mind when you read verses in the Bible calling for God to put the wicked to shame? Why do you think God gave us a psalm like this?

2. Are you offended by the evil around you? What is the war-song in your heart? What do you want the Lord to banish from this world? Why?

3. How do we apply a psalm like this to our own hearts? Where do you see the seeds of wickedness bearing unwanted fruit in your own life? How does God tell us He has dealt with the evil in us?

SRT-POA-Instagram-Day12

  • Jemima John

    Wow, I loved the powerful reminder that it is good to have a reckoning for evil. I feel that these days, society is getting more and more desensitized to the evil around us. I’ve personally struggled with this especially as I’m studying law and there are some things that are held to be okay(because of the complex legal principles under it all) but it goes so against the Word of God. It’s been really difficult but I trust that God’s grace would help me get through it.

  • Heather Legge

    Unfortunately when I read verses like these I think of my ex and how terribly he has hurt me and how continues to “hurt” me and my girls but having complete control over their lives and therefore, to an extent, mine. And so I read verses like this and wonder why has God not punished him? I use these verses to judge my ex and make myself the righteous one. I know this is SO wrong but I also wonder why these verses are here and why God hasn’t done anything. How long do my girls have to go through this hardship before it is made right??

    • Tami

      I’m so sorry for what you are going through. I am praying for you and your girls right now, that God will protect their hearts and minds and that Jesus’ love and peace will fill all of your hearts to overflowing!

  • Rachel Duchesneau

    So, we have two foster sons who have had parents who abused and neglected them severely. It is very hard for me to forgive or love them even though its what Jesus would do. I see the effect it has on the hearts of my sons. And I wish that no child ever had to endure abuse or neglect. I wish God would rid the world of adults who hurt children. I think God gave us Psalms like this to remind us that He understands the tension we feel.

  • “The pilgrim-disciple asks the Lord to bring a reckoning to evil and evildoers, to smite the wicked “far as the curse is found.””

    I am hurt by the behaviors of select few at work. Being in leadership is beyond hard – the constant critisicm from select others that have no idea what difficult decisions must be made. I work 60-70 hrs a week and give my all to my work and in return — criticism (and from those who perform poorly and refuse to put in extra time to help). My head and heart wants to fight back and defend, but I know that’s not right. It’s what I normally do – no more. Time for a new way.

    So yes, I want God to defend me. I really do. Because it hurts, because I am tired, because I don’t want to defend and fight back any more. Some will just choose to hurt others and I cannot stop it, I must endure it, somehow. God be my defender and my strength – pleade.

    • Kathy

      Take your empty jar to Jesus. He will fill it. Love is more powerful than hate. Ask Jesus for what you truly want and then believe he can do it

    • She Reads Truth

      Sweet friend. Praying for you in this. Asking the Lord to remind you that He cares deeply for you and that He truly is your defender and protector. Grateful for you vulnerability in sharing this.

      – Stormye

  • I was struck by the idea that we should want a reckoning for evil, and the image in my mind was of my children coming to me when they feel wronged by each other, which is often the result of selfish or thoughtless behavior on one or both of their parts. I thought about how I tend to deal with that situation and realized that I often don’t point out how both of them have done an evil thing, and I usually try to emphasize how much they actually love one another instead of acknowledging that their fury is well-founded, that getting rid of the darkness in their sibling is a good desire. I thought about how evil begets evil, the cycle of family sin and family abuse, and how God’s GRACE is literally the only thing that can bring true change to any of that, or to any human heart.

    • Jen

      Grace truly is that can truly bring change. In the midst of some family issues, I needed that nugget of truth today.

      I feel like “I’ve” tried, but am realizing I haven’t allowed God the chance to use His love and grace to win.

  • I have started a new job that I feel God put me in for a purpose. The 300 employees are tired, disgruntled, and bitter. I am in a position to make things better and the enemy has started attacking me harder than usual during this transition. I have turned to SRT to help fuel me for this period in Gods wonderful plan. I trust him to light my path in this dark place of brokenness. I am privileged that he wants to use me as a light to lead others to him.

  • Melody Suarez

    Even though when I think of wicked I think of actually people, I feel like God wants me remember that we aren’t battling against flesh and blood, but against the evil one who roams this earth and tries to steal, kill and destroy, anything in His path including people. I’m going to be honest and say that I have wished bad things on evil people, but more than that, the greater thing that trumps that wish is that those same people would come to know Jesus. I think we are going to be surprised at how many “criminals” we see in heaven. Paul was a murderer of Christians yet God redeemed him and he went on to write half of the Bible. If I think about the modern day “Paul’s” like people who are part of ISIS, it’s hard for me to believe and sometimes I don’t want to believe that Gods grace can cover them if they were to repent. So when I think about God taking victory over evil, I think of Him taking victory over the devil and his wicked schemes to destroy humanity and destroy their chances for salvation. So more than I wish for bad people to be punished, I wish that they would come to Jesus, because it is in the redemption that we find the gospel in its rawest and most beautiful form.

  • Even though our country, Im a Canadian, is called a democracy,we are inundated with corruption. It is more subtle than persecuted churchs in many countries. It is a spiritual battle,fought in our minds. We take on the worlds perspective so easily. I was awake in the middle of the night, asking the Lord what He was showing me. I was reminded of this verse..
    “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
    ‭‭II Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
    http://bible.com/114/2ch.7.14.nkjv
    As so many have said here, We can be the change agents in this hot bead of declining morality! Let it begin with me!

  • As a new foster parent, this really hit home. It’s easy to see all the brokenness and evil and just want to give up, or become bitter. Or even put yourself on a pedestal thinking I would never do any of the things these parents have done to lose their children. God has been reminding me of His vast love for all his children, and graciously showing me my own pride and selfishness as I go. Ultimately we all need HIM.

    • Miss Courtney

      Prayers for you Juliet, fostering is a rough road that is certainly not as glamorous as it sounds. Love the littles while you have them. Thank you for opening your heart and home! Hugs!

  • Hailey T.

    In this Psalm I see an interesting dichotomy between knowing God can enact justice and how we take ‘justice’ into our own hands (which often looks a lot like grasping for control). I highly recommend this episode by Rob Bell https://robbell.podbean.com/e/episode-143-the-thing-in-the-air-part-5-the-lie-of-redemptive-violence/

    I am trying to see where innate anger comes from inside of me in my every day and trying to fill that with grace.

  • Thank you Jesus that you are perfect peace in a world that is evil + chaotic. He calls the wind and the waves! He restores peace to all areas!

    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • Sarah Joy

    God is a god of justice and love. He holds back His wrath out of His great love for this world. He desires that none would perish, but one day Jesus will return for His Church. In that day every knee will bow before Him regardless of their allegiance. May we pray for the salvation of ALL people. But I can hate the evil that has entrapped many. I can ask for God’s kingdom to come and the power of evil to be destroyed. The battle is won; let’s pray for many more to join us in the victory.

  • maybellinne

    CREO QUE ESTE SALMO EN ESPECIAL NOS HACE RECORDAR QUE TODOS PASAREMOS MOMENTOS DIFICILES Y QUE EL ATAQUE SIEMPRE ESTARA PRESENTE PERO A LA VEZ NOS HACE LA INVITACION A CONFIAR AHI EN MEDIO DE LAS SIRCUNSTANCIAS DIFICILES Y TENER LA CERTEZA DE QUE LA JUSTICIA DE DIOS TERMINARA CON ESTO Y EL MISMO SERA QUIEN SE ENCARGARA DE TODOS AQUELLOS QUE PROCURARON HACERME EL MAL Y EL MISMO SERA QUIEN ME EXALTE SIN SER ASI NECESARIO QUE YO BUSQUE ACTUAR PRESIPITADAMENTE BUSCANDO POR MI PROPIA FUERZA PARAR TODO AQUELLO.

    • CJ

      Google translate

      I BELIEVE THAT THIS PSALM SPECIALLY MAKES US TO REMEMBER THAT WE WILL ALL SPEND DIFFICULT MOMENTS AND THAT THE ATTACK WILL ALWAYS BE PRESENT, BUT AT A TIME WE MAKE THE INVITATION TO TRUST HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF DIFFICULT SIRCUNSTANCES AND BE SURE THAT GOD’S JUSTICE WILL END WITH THIS AND THE SAME WILL BE WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF ALL THOSE WHO LOOKED TO DO ME EVIL AND THE SAME WILL BE WHO EXTEND ME WITHOUT BEING SO I NEED TO ACT WHEN I PRESIDLY LOOKING FOR MY OWN STRENGTH TO STOP EVERYTHING THAT.”

    • Mari

      Muy bien dicho Maybellinne!

  • It’s hard for us to square up a passage like this, especially in a culture that increasingly confuses hatred of someone’s ideology or actions with hatred of the person… seems as though the psalmist is wishing harm, can God really condone that?

    I appreciated the devotional’s reference to “Joy to the World” and the curse. Set next to yesterday’s psalm 128, they seem to almost work as a pair, around the idea of blessing and curse. If yesterday was the psalmist longing for good things from the Lord to be evident in the lives of those who fear him, it’s like this one is him crying out for what is dead, broken and wrong to be made evident as such, withering as opposed to prospering until the physical world matches the spiritual. Made me revisit Jesus cursing the fig tree in Mark 11. It was supposed to be bearing the first fruits and (like Israel) it was not. He did not make it unfruitful, just made it’s withering evident and complete…

    I have been so aware lately of how HARD it is to live in the part of the story where Jesus has said “It is finished,” hacked death off at the root, and yet the strangling vines of sin and the fall have yet to brown up, still seem to be choking and clinging to everything good. Maybe the blessing and cursing are the Psalmist’s way of crying to the Lord for the physical world around him reflect the spiritual realm until everyone knows, even though now godly couples are infertile and oppressors prosper, the Lord sees and one day, He will set things right, “on earth as it is in heaven.”

  • Tochi Heredia

    I live in a corrupt country.
    Almost all aspects of society are tainted with corruption: the government, the school system, large and small companies, the Catholic
    church (and sometimes the Evangelical too), the public and private health system, interpersonal relationships… The list goes on. It has turned into a cultural thing.
    Trying to live a godly life in Argentina can be difficult. On one hand, there’s the temptation of living like everyone else. But, on the other hand, sometimes it feels that corruption wins. Deceiving, corrupt, evil people get what they want, and honest, God-fearing people are belittled, hurt and oppressed.

    We’re incredibly short-sighted, but thank you Lord for putting things into perspective.
    It’s honorable to strive for justice, to fight for our faith and to refuse to submit to the world’s standards.
    Father, forgive us for fearing man more than You. For forgetting so quickly that you are sovereign and we’re under your protection. Give us strength to endure these temporary trials.
    Thank you, Jesus, for winning the war. It is finished.

    • Chloe

      Thank you for sharing this. As one who lives in America, it’s easy to forget the religious difficulties of others in a country where it’s relatively easy to be a Christian (though things are changing). I want to remind you what I remind my boys when they fight over their personal rights…those who come last and don’t fight for their rights and let other people win will get the bigger prize in heaven! Praying for you and hope you are encouraged by all the beauty God has in store for those who persevere for His name to the end. If there’s anything we can do for you, please let me know!

    • She Reads Truth

      Tochi, thank you so much for sharing this and for the reminder to pray for our sisters in other countries. So grateful for you, friend!

      – Stormye

    • Irina

      Thank you for your witnessing. God bless you to live amid such pervasive conditions and be a testimony to people around you. My church in US has been helping the Ukrainian church in Argentina and we are told similar stories about corruption in your country. Hold on my dear sister . You reminded me that I need to pray for our beloved sisters in other countries.

  • Gema Muniz

    I believe this is a reminder to pray for the world, to pray for peace and for justice for those that find themselves in distructive relationships, for those who are bullied, for those who can’t defend themselves. There is so much evil in this world that we can feel helpless and even feel fearful for our families and for ourselves. This morning God is reminding me to get on my knees and pray for the elderly, pray for the youth, pray for protection over my family and myself, and pray for salvation for the wicked. May we pray for this world to change their ways and turn to God, only that way will they find purpose and true happiness. God bless you all sisters.

  • buildingmyfaith

    I try and remember to take it in context of the Old Testament before Jesus came to the world to save us all from sin :)

  • churchmouse

    Such an honest cry for relief from the evil and injustice in the world. We can be so unbelievably cruel to one another. There would be no hope were it not for Jesus. Praise God for His love and mercy! I cannot combat ISIS, Boko Harom, Hezbollah, etc. but I can look inwardly and confess and repent of my own selfishness, pride and greed. I can foster harmony and peace within my own family. I can root out my own prejudice. I can do at least one kind deed every day. I can speak an encouraging word. I can overlook an offense. I can seek to understand rather than be understood. I can bite my tongue, for not everyone needs my opinion. I can be a helper. Yes. Small things to promote peace. So grateful I have the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to change myself and thus transform my little world if only in small ways. Who knows how far its reach or its effect on the next generation? Let me not grow weary in doing good.

  • Claire Bills

    I find verses like v5 (May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame. ) I pray
    those who hate Zion be shown his love and come to know him and love him. Yes there is evil I hate but I pray for it to end not anything bad to those who condone it…

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